J.R.R. Tolkien's Lost English Mythology
A path-breaking account of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth as the lost world of ancient English mythology.
Drawing on Tolkien’s newly published commentary on Beowulf and his own research on late-Victorian and Edwardian scholarship, Simon J. Cook explores Tolkien’s lifelong project of reconstructing the ancient traditions of the North – myths and legends once at the heart of English culture but forgotten after the Anglo-Saxon settlement of the British Isles.
Cook situates The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings in relation to contemporary writings on the prehistory of Northern Europe and the origin of the English nation.
Taking us through three key stages in the genesis of Middle-earth, Cook shows how Tolkien crafted stories that fit and illuminate our fragmentary knowledge of ancient English traditions. By the end of this essay, Aragorn, Arwen, and Frodo appear in a new light – no longer just icons of modern fantasy, but also the original heroes of a lost English mythology.
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